Enterprise Solutions Conference 2001 Highlights the Need for Agility In the Fast-Growing Latin American Market

MIAMI, April 17, 2001 — In the opening keynote address to the Latin America Enterprise Solutions Conference 2001, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corp., today outlined the dynamic vision of the Microsoft® .NET initiative and what it means for businesses in the fast-growing Latin American region. Paying particular attention to the priorities and needs of today’s enterprises, Ballmer highlighted how .NET, Microsoft’s XML-based platform for services, is uniquely positioned to streamline business processes and create new business opportunities.

“In a global marketplace where the competition is only a mouse click away, businesses of all sizes — especially in explosive growth markets like Latin America — need an end-to-end solution that gives them the power to reach new customers and respond to market opportunities,”
Ballmer said.
“With .NET, Microsoft combines the world’s best development tools with a framework that lets anyone build reliable, mission-critical Web services. With companies such as Accenture, Compaq Computer Corp., KPMG Consulting Inc. and Unisys, we are giving our customers in Latin America the means to compete effectively worldwide.”

Ballmer’s one-hour presentation showcased the Microsoft software and services that have been the catalyst for successful companies around the world. He highlighted the Latin American debut of the bCentral™
small-business portal, a set of online services designed to provide a cost-efficient way for small businesses to integrate with larger organizations. Building on the momentum of last month’s
“Hailstorm”
announcement, Ballmer used the conference as an occasion to discuss how .NET helps organizations compete more effectively in an increasingly global environment.

During his presentation, Ballmer announced the debut of bCentral for Latin America. Built on top of the .NET Enterprise Servers, bCentral for Latin America takes advantage of public Internet Standards such as XML to provide even the smallest businesses with the ability to publish and extend their catalog to organizations of all sizes, effectively integrating into the supply chain of enterprise organizations.

“bCentral brings the power of Web services to small businesses, who may not have the resources to build their own,”
said Ballmer.
“By aggregating Web services designed specifically for smaller organizations, bCentral helps these companies automate their business processes, work more efficiently with partners and reach more customers.”

Ballmer provided details on two Latin American enterprises that are succeeding today on the Microsoft platform: Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) and Brazilian Foreign Exchange Clearinghouse (BM & F).

The need for flexibility and integration is what drove BM & F to choose Microsoft over the competition. Faced with the need to register, clear and settle transactions executed on the trading floor, BM & F needed an infrastructure that could provide the availability and scalability required for success in today’s economy. Further, the infrastructure had to be built and deployed quickly. By choosing the Windows® 2000 operating system and .NET Enterprise Servers, BM & F was able to build a system in less than six months that handles over $5 billion (US) daily. This choice further allowed BM & F to integrate the Foreign Exchange Clearinghouse with the Brazilian Central bank and 120 other banks in the region.

Ballmer also highlighted recent findings from the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC-C) that show how the Microsoft platform, built on Windows 2000 and SQL Server™
2000, is leading the charge in price-performance benefits for customers. The numbers, Ballmer said, make a clear case for migrating to Windows 2000 sooner rather than later.

“Our enterprise customers often ask me whether they should move to Windows 2000 now or wait for the next version,”
said Ballmer.
“And I always tell them, ‘Yes, absolutely!’ There are so many awesome improvements in Windows 2000 — from unprecedented reliability to rock-solid security – that our customers would be crazy not to upgrade. Moving to Windows 2000 lets you take advantage of these benefits today while paving the way for the Web services of tomorrow.”

Ballmer closed his presentation by highlighting the theme of the day: the incredible potential behind .NET and how companies should position themselves now to embrace Web services. The prospects for Latin American businesses are wide open, he said, and there are huge opportunities for companies whose IT organizations embrace the Web, find ways to incorporate or create their own XML schema, and .NET enable their development teams.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, bCentral and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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